Roger Zetter thinks about the nature and challenges of researching migrant (specifically refugee) journeys.
He presents a paper with idea about the lacuna in research about the subject, and also examines the limited research that does exist. He argues the importance of studying the journey, for both academics and policy makers. Finally Roger looks at some of the conceptual and methodological challenges for this research. The field of migration studies has tended to explore the causes and outcomes of migration to the neglect of the conditions and practice of movement itself. The literature has looked at what drives migration and the decision to move, and placed emphasis on what happens afterwards in terms of integration, exclusion and so on. What happens 'in between' this 'before and after' - migrants' journeys - has received much less analytical attention, in contrast to the quite extensive literary, biographical and film exploration of such journeys. In this seminar series we aim to address how journeys are shaped by means of travel, borders, smugglers/agents/brokers, networks, social media, social support during journeys, age/gender/generation, class/resources/social capital/wealth/power, law/legal constraints, personal security/danger/risk. The series will explore fruitful ways in which journeys may be approached analytically. Does the so-called mobilities paradigm offer insights here? Can journeys usefully be analysed in terms of structure and agency? How do class, gender, generation and other social cleavages and power relations shape journeys? How can the risks and dangers encountered by migrants en route be addressed? These and other approaches will be drawn upon in the series to deepen our understanding of migrant journeys.